Ram began his career at General Electric as a software engineer, and later served as a member of GE’s corporate audit staff, where he helped global divisions identify problems and improve performance. He has also been a consultant with McKinsey and was co-founder and president of Whisk, a corporate rideshare platform that is now part of Enterprise Holdings.
Your career has taken you all over the globe. Give us a glimpse into that journey.
You’ll be surprised to learn that I didn’t take my first international trip until I was 22. I grew up in India, and international travel wasn’t an option for me until I went to work for GE after college. But once I started traveling, I never stopped.
Since the start of my career, I’ve never lived in the same home for more than three years. Travel has been a part of all of my jobs, and it’s allowed me to learn a huge amount about how different cultures and markets work.
What was your first experience as an entrepreneur?
I partnered with a colleague to start a rideshare platform designed to help car services and taxi companies through technology and supply aggregation. These companies were struggling to compete with Uber, and our platform helped them be competitive. What we didn’t realize, though, was that taxi and car service companies were too locked in their old competitive stance to adapt the way they needed to. Now our technology was good, and we ultimately sold it, so that was a win for us. The biggest thing I learned was the need for businesses to stay flexible and how to judge whether industries can be disrupted from within or by outsiders.
How does that experience influence your work at the Vision Fund?
The first thing I tell founders is this: I’ve been in your shoes when things were going well and when they weren’t. So I understand what it takes to actually bring an idea to life, and I understand that it’s not easy to trust an outsider. In the beginning, I’m just focused on building a relationship based on trust and shared purpose. I’m just happy to be able to help in the way that works best for them.